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Should you buy a Kmart coffee machine?

We've been reviewing and testing Kmart Anko espresso machines for years. Are these budget brewers worth buying? 

kmart coffee machine on yellow background
Last updated: 22 May 2024

Need to know

  • We reviewed the $79 Kmart Anko Compact Espresso machine in our latest round of testing
  • When we've tested Kmart coffee machines in the past, they've been hit and miss
  • We review a wide range of coffee machines at different price points to help you find the best one that suits your needs and budget

Coffee is serious business and if you've decided to invest in a coffee machine for your own home, you may be swayed by a cheap option from the Kmart Anko range, which is now also available at Target.

The bargain retailers currently sell two coffee machines:

We put the $79 machine to the test in our labsWhile it had some positive attributes, our experts also had plenty of criticisms. 

Does Kmart make good coffee machines? 

We've tested a number of Anko machines over the years, but our experts have found them quite disappointing overall.

"Coffee machines, particularly manual espresso machines, can be a serious investment, so it's natural to be tempted by Kmart's cheap coffee machines," says CHOICE kitchen expert Kim Gilmour.

"But they have their pros and cons, and historically Kmart machines haven't stacked up too well compared with many other rival models."

Historically Kmart machines haven't stacked up too well compared with many other rival models

CHOICE kitchen expert Kim Gilmour

"If you're on a limited budget, you may be considering buying from Kmart, but before you do, do your research by reading our coffee machine reviews to find the best option for you."

Our expert coffee machine testers assess a wide variety of espresso machines in our labs, ranging from cheap Aldi pod machines all the way through to $4000+ fully automatic machines with digital displays.

Read on for an in-depth analysis of how Anko coffee machines perform.

kmart anko compact espresso cm8502 gs

Priced at $79, the Kmart manual machine is a bargain but failed to impress our experts.

Is the $79 Kmart coffee machine any good?

Anko Compact Espresso machine

(Available at Kmart and Target)

  • Type: Manual
  • Price: $79

The cheapest coffee machine we tested, this Kmart model costs even less than a basic pod machine, so it definitely ticks the budget box. 

But sadly, you get what you pay for. It doesn't deliver great tasting coffee – industry experts rated it at just 55% for taste – and it's even worse at frothing milk, scoring just 40% on this test. 

Overall, it received a disappointing CHOICE Expert Rating of 57%.

It's not the worst coffee machine in our review, but it's the second-lowest scoring of the manual machines we tested. (Though admittedly, it does score higher than a $749 Sunbeam manual machine, but that's not saying much: neither of them did well in our tests.)

kmart anko compact espresso cm8502 gs accessories

The plastic tamper doesn't fit properly into the basket, which affects the espresso quality.

What our experts disliked about it

Its low scores show that it doesn't make great coffee, but why did our experts mark it down?

First up is the temperature: it's too hot to make a decent espresso (which can burn the coffee, leaving you with a bitter brew), but there's no way to tweak the temp to improve the situation.

And when frothing the milk, it creates very large bubbles rather than fine foam that makes for a good cuppa.

Our experts found that it's quite light so you need to hold it down when you're moving the group handle to stop it moving around on the bench.

It's also light on accessories: it doesn't come with a milk jug, so you'll need to buy one before you start brewing. (They aren't expensive, but you'd be disappointed to unpack your shiny new machine and find that you can't use it straight away!)

And you'll need to buy a grinder as it doesn't have one built in, which some more expensive machines do.

It can leave you with an espresso that's depresso

It does come with a plastic tamper, but that's not exactly a pro: it's flimsy and doesn't fit snugly into the basket.

This means you can't tamp (press) the coffee down well, which affects the way the hot water flows through the ground coffee and can leave you with an espresso that's depresso.

kmart anko compact espresso cm8502 gs controls

The Anko Compact is a manual machine, so you'll need to start and stop the flow of coffee yourself with the buttons.

What our experts liked about it

There's not a great deal to say here, unfortunately.

The machine did receive a very good score for coffee temperature consistency – so you'll get pretty ordinary coffees from it, but at least they'll be the same temperature each time.

The Anko Compact Espresso is a manual machine, which means that you're in charge of operating everything. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on what you're looking for.

Semi-automatic machines take care of some functions for you, such as the amount of water that flows through the coffee. They will cut the flow of coffee for you once a pre-set amount has been poured into your cup.

With a manual machine, you'll have to cut the flow yourself, so you'll need to keep an eye on it (and maybe even use a timer for more precision).

Manual machines can be more complicated and require more practice to make a good espresso, but they can also allow for more customisation and control.

It received a very good score for coffee temperature consistency – so you'll get pretty ordinary coffees, but at least they'll all be the same temperature

Unfortunately, one of the Anko machine's biggest issues is the water temperature, which you can't adjust, so there aren't many other things you can tweak to improve your brew.

Find out how this Kmart coffee machine compares with other brands in our coffee machine reviews.

All the details are available to our members – consider becoming a CHOICE member to access our expert reviews and avoid buying a dud machine.

kmart anko espresso machine cm5418cb sa

This $119 Kmart machine pumped out tasty brews, but it's been discontinued.

How have previous Kmart coffee machines performed?

In the past, we've tested several other Kmart coffee machines, including a pod machine and semi-automatic machine. 

None of them were exceptional performers, but a few have been worth considering compared with far costlier models.

A 2023 semi-automatic model outperformed some other machines in certain aspects of our testing – including ones that were far more expensive. 

A $649 DeLonghi, for instance, scored just 60% in the taste test, while the Kmart scored 75%. That's a big win for a little machine that cost a fraction of the DeLonghi model! 

Unfortunately it's since been discontinued, so you can't pick up this budget beauty any more.

And two other Kmart Anko machines – one manual, one semi-automatic – hit 70% on the taste test, beating machines worth many times more, but they still didn't rate especially well overall. 

In short, Kmart's machines can be hit and miss

Those are pretty much the only high points for Kmart machines, sadly. The brand's low points have included a capsule machine that scored just 35% for taste and 54% overall, and a $95 machine that could only manage scores of 60% for taste and milk frothing. 

Only two of its machines have rated higher than 65%, well below the cut-off to be recommended by our experts.

In short, Kmart's machines can be hit and miss, so make sure you check our detailed coffee machine reviews before you hit the store to make sure you're picking up the best possible machine for your needs and budget.

Potential issues with cheap appliances

If you're looking at buying a budget coffee machine from retailers like Kmart and Target, it's important to consider its lifespan. 

Cheap appliances may be made with cheaper parts and have shorter warranties than more expensive products.

It can also be harder to find replacement parts (if they're available at all), and the design can make them difficult to repair, so they could end up in landfill sooner.

If things go wrong, you might have better luck with customer service from an established brand rather than a discount retailer.

A cheap coffee machine might save you money at the checkout, but it could cost you more in the long run if you have to replace it sooner because it breaks.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.